Friday, September 24, 2010

Great Recipes - The Simple Yet Delicious Bean Burrito

Although I suppose there are healthier ways of getting our daily bread, this one is pretty good for you. This simple burrito sustained me for the greater part of six months in the murkier parts of St. Louis. And best of all, one can be satisfied on less than two U.S. dollars a day.

-Flour tortillas (multi-grain are even better but more expensive)
-Dried beans, usually pinto
-Canola Oil
-Canned salsa (preferably the watery Mexican type)
-Veggies (poblanos, anaheims, jalapeno, lots of cilantro, scallions, lime)
-Shredded Cheese (Colby jack is fine, feta is great)
-Plain yoghurt

When things get boring, you can substitute corn for flour tortillas (with a big fat increase though), black beans for pintos, green salsa for red, and so on). Feel free to add sliced cactus, avocado, or pickled chipotle to your burritos as well.

For me, this was always a 'fix 'em as you eat 'em' dish, where you just spoon in the toppings and roll. Refried beans are very easy to make, but there is one big point of caution: never let beans stick and burn at the bottom of the pan. They will taste horrible and never recover.

Beans do not have to be soaked overnight. Rinse them, add enough water to cover them, and let them come to a boil. Turn off the heat and let them soak for an hour or two. Be sure to drain them, and then fill the pot with a lot of water. Keep a good eye on them for the next two hours, adding water when necessary and stirring often. Add a diced onion at the beginning of the cooking process. It adds flavor and texture.

During the last half hour you will be busy. Let the water level come down so the beans become gooey, but don't let them stick! With practice, you'll know when they're ready to add oil, about a cup per pound of beans. Stir until your arm is tired and they taste delicious. Of course, you can always buy canned refried beans but why, when cooking this basic, would you want to wimp out and do that?

Rand Whitehall writes on an eclectic mix of topics, ranging from great recipes to the finer details of the Linux operating system. His latest website is a sheet metal fab's dream come true. is all about sheet metal fabrication and used sheet metal brakes in particular.

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